An Encopresis Survivor’s guide to Social self confidence (Part 1)

Whenever it was recess/lunch time at school I spent the majority of time by myself, or I would talk to the teachers when they were doing their walk around on duty. “Why don’t you go hang out with your friends?” they would ask. “What friends?” was my constant reply. I could hang out with the bullies…plenty of them around. When the kids at school went to a party, school dance or ball..guess who wasn’t invited? Being treated as a loner for no other reason than “just because”, isn’t going to do anything good.

Having Encopresis with the uncontrollable soiling of underwear (and NO urge) is hard enough, having any chance of a social life is a long distant dream. When I see the “popular kids” or anyone with the huge self confidence or a social butterfly, I admit I’m envious. I cried a lot because of the bullying, being stabbed, work stolen and things thrown at me. Neither of these are related to having Encopresis, only I wasn’t self confident enough to not let it upset me.

The teenage years are where the affects of peer pressure and peer influence take hold. I was able to invite a few friends to my birthday, but rarely was I invited in return. Sometimes in the movies/TV shows there are scenes where the teenagers are hanging out with their friends (both guys and girls), dates and all the other fun stuff. When you have Encopresis (including myself), it isn’t a cliche but real. It can be so painful to watch other teenagers be happy and do “normal” things, but can only view it from the outside and no idea what it’s like to actually experience it for his/herself.

Once I left school after Graduation and no longer in contact of people from school life (especially the bullies), I am more able to gain my self confidence, and with it a sense of social confidence. Performing and books (writing, reading and the library) are always a part of me. I am my most happiest doing what I love, and no longer allow bullies to take control. I won’t be somewhere if the bullies are there. I always stayed true to myself, my family and my interests.

Being on stage, on set or writing and hanging out with like minded people means a lot to me. The more I know about myself and push my comfort zone, the more I can stand up for myself. I can walk down the street with a  spring in my step and talk to people. To tell someone I know that I had Enco isn’t easy, but it really is freeing. Here is a quote from a recent e-mail that a fellow Encopresis survivor sent me:

“I told my few friends in class that I had a disorder called Encopresis and for the first time in my life I no more feel shallow for myself and that they took it lightly now I feel much better around them.
Initially I repented telling them but I found that its better to let them know than hiding inside and killing my social life, I even discovered that its considerably a better experience than being sympathised. I am really doing good at this now and I am always thankful for your dedicated efforts towards enco veterans. I may be healing in a real slow pace but I found it as a healthy development and I am sure that my leap of faith did not go in vain”.

Understandably not everyone is ready to open up to someone they trust about this condition (myself included at the time). Opening up about this to someone you trust (close friend, teacher, family) is hard initially but is something I suggest you do. If suffer from Encopresis while at school for example, a trusting friend that knows what is happening and on your team, can hint that you need to change and be there for moral support. The first step is always the hardest.

Keep posted to my blog for Part 2 of this post. Don’t forget to subscribe, write/e-mail to The Ellen DeGeneres Show and give the Facebook page a LIKE ( https://www.facebook.com/helpencopresissurvivorseeellen?ref=hl ), and let me know how you go.

Do you have any suggestions? Have you shared your story with anyone else and was it helpful in gaining confidence in yourself and social confidence? Take care,

Dimity

7 thoughts on “An Encopresis Survivor’s guide to Social self confidence (Part 1)

  1. Jayson 09/09/2014 / 3:35 am

    This may not be a popular post. But I have read as much material as I can find on encopresis survivor’s trying to understand how to relate to a stepson who has this problem. A common theme throughout seems to be one of shame, guilt, and other feelings of isolation. Another common theme is strained relationships with family members. I have read several blogs of survivors who say they have forgiven their mother & father for their lack of understanding and others that still wish an apology would someday come. I will agree that none of us will ever know what it is like to go through life with encopresis. But in what I’ve read, many (not all) people who have, or have had encopresis tend to look at their condition from a self centered perspective. Let me first say that I will never fault someone for something they cannot control, including bowel movements. Not all encopresis cases are the same. There are some people who are exemplary in everything they do and happen to have a medical condition. However, in my own personal experience, and in my readings, the majority of encopresis cases have more to do with psychological issues than physical issues.
    I have a step son who has encopresis, and like many others have said in many other blogs and such, we have tried everything. Positive reinforcement with rewards, punishment with loss of privileges. We have tried changes in diet, we have tried medication, we have tried to be firm about it, we have tried to be nice about it. We have done scheduled toilet times. Even if we do see some improvement, it is only temporary. We have seen improvement in spurts, and every time we tried to take off the training wheels, things would revert right back to the way they were. We also have the problem that we can’t babysit him 24 hours a day. Even when we have him on schedules, he will often shit himself if he has a quick opportunity to do so. The doctor and psychologists have said there is nothing physically wrong with him. I have always tried to be fair with him. I can possibly understand where earlier generations may come from in the sense that I know he is getting much better treatment than either I or my wife would’ve received when we were kids. In my day, the answer was to grab a belt or a switch and if that didn’t work, I imagine we would’ve been shamed to no end. But I have spent countless hours reading on this subject, and at this point, I am all out of pity for him. I have tried very hard with him. I told him that I never expected him to change over night and if this was something he had trouble controlling, we would always help him. But I told him if he couldn’t control it, then I expected him to stay on top of the things he could control. I told him that he wouldn’t be in trouble if he was open about it and told us when he became aware of it.
    Instead, he has become a compulsive liar. Not only about his soiling issue, but in general. He is the kind of person who lies when there is no reason to and you scratch your head and wonder why anyone would lie about the silly things that he lies about. He has also shown that he can control his soiling issue. He spent the summer with an uncle (who for some reason, does not have this problem with) and did not have one accident in a month. He comes back home and it starts back up. The more we get onto him, the more he does it. My wife and I have finally come to the conclusion that he does it to spite us because it’s his only recourse. She has told me we need to not get onto him when he does it, but I can’t adhere to that philosophy. If I miss deadlines at work, my boss isn’t going to ignore it hoping it doesn’t get worse. His father is not involved in his life and we suspect that is a big reason for his behavior. But I don’t accept that as an excuse for this behavior. I grew up with an alcoholic mother in an abusive relationship, and my wife had a poor excuse for a father. There are children out there who have crack heads for mothers, who are sleeping on the street, who are going to bed with no food in their stomachs (lord knows i fell into that category many times.) You can’t use those things as crutches to try to scrape through life because the real world is heartless and no one is going to give him a free pass because his father wasn’t around. Psychology and psychiatry today is turning into a philosophy of using whatever tormented you in your childhood to excuse future behavior. I do believe in trying to be understanding, but there comes a point where it has to stop being only about the person who has the issue and the people who are affected need to be taken into consideration.

    What about his older sister who is too ashamed to have friends over because she is scared she will be made fun of?

    What about the strain it puts on my wife and I’s relationship? This issue has tested our relationship many times over. Even though I was fully aware of the situation before, I did not think we would still be dealing with it 7 years later and I didn’t realize it would be so consuming.

    What about me? As I stated, I grew up in a poor household in public project housing. I busted my tail through school because I hated the lifestyle my mother provided for us. I work hard and get a good job…is it too much to ask for a house that isn’t reeked with the smell of feces? Is that what I worked all of those years for?

    What about our families? I know both sides of families have get togethers without informing us because he has soiled himself at every family occasion to the point that other people do not want him (and by association, us) at their homes because of the smell and mess he leaves behind, and his cousins and my nieces and nephews don’t want him coming over.

    Neither my wife or I can have a normal life. I would love to be able to pull out a grill and have a few buddies over to watch a football game and I know my wife would love to have friends over. But we don’t because of him.

    We seldom go places all together. He soils himself at any outing and we always hear people mumbling “What is that smell?” I can’t begin to say how much embarrassment he has caused over the years and unlike some children with encopresis, I know that some of his was deliberate…or at least deliberate in the sense that he knew he needed to go and just didn’t feel like it.

    It took time to get him to open up and I started pressing him harder after his time at his uncles house without having any issues and made him start telling me more about what was going on. He finally admitted that many times he can feel it coming, but he’s watching tv or doing something and doesn’t feel like getting to go. When I ask him why do that when he knows he’s going to get in trouble….he simply shrugs his shoulders and says….i don’t know.

    As I said, I have done everything I can think of to try to help this kid. I have been reasonable light years beyond what I would’ve ever received. I am sick and tired of everything being about him. I am sick and tired of our lives revolving around him. I have gotten so angry at his nonchalant attitude about shitting everywhere that it has taken everything within me from getting physical with him.

    I have read accounts of bright, young kids who were great kids who simply had encopresis as a physical issue who felt bad and guilt over their issue. This child feels no guilt, does not care what effect his soiling has on the rest of his family, because he has purposely done it in several situations to make sure he was the center of attention. He is old enough to know better, and I have had it with him. I don’t want to mess with him anymore and truth be told, I want him out of my life because my feelings of understanding are gone and all of that is left is the feeling of resentment and anger.

    • naturegirl015 22/09/2014 / 9:32 pm

      Hi Jayson,

      I’m sorry to hear what you and your family are going through. Thank you for sharing your situation with me. You do raise some interesting angles. My heart goes out to you and your family.

      Dimity

      P.S. Are there any readers out there that can relate to Jayson’s situation?

    • Harry M VanHoudnos 22/09/2014 / 9:38 pm

      This is a problem that, from what I have read, is common to all who suffer from this condition. And, until either a cure is found, or a way to handle this matter comes up, its going to be like this. And while I do not suffer from this condition, I know Dimity. And I hope that someday, a cure CAN be found!

  2. Ron S of Phoenix 14/07/2014 / 10:34 am

    The worst thing about Encopresis is the guilt. I can only imagine my life from 3 years old or earlier. My first audio memory of how old I was is 3. The time when a toddler should start to fly solo on the stool issue. I had several siblings, 2 older step siblings and 2 younger. I feel that my female sister who was about a year younger caught on to proper toilet hygiene before me. That is when the heat was turned up. All I remember is either being ignored on my hygiene education or negative feedback when attention was given. In retrospect I don’t understand how that mission was not a priority for my parents. As a child I thought everyone knew. The truth was that my family did not care enough to help me on my situation, and the aunts uncles grandparents cousins were all clueless. I often wonder how my experience would have been if I had not had to endure the shame. I have pressed my Mother and older siblings on the situation back then. Only to have the subject matter changed and ignored. No response enlightening me as to their theories ever forthcoming. I have since learned possibly why. During my birth to the toddler stage I was often left to the care of my older siblings who were pre teens. I learned that My mother went to work shortly after my birth and I was in a 3 child family with 2 parents working full time to keep us in a new home in the suburbs. It took me 50 years to piece it all from the past.
    I am not one to typically revisit something I cannot change. I will never get acknowledgment or a sense of responsibility on the likely neglect I received. I must say that I did manage to get an apology from my mother in which I quickly forgave her for the past. The memories linger though.
    I enjoy a seemingly normal social status. A wife and daughter who love me. They understand my past and allow for my occasional visitation speaking to them on the subject.
    There were other minor dysfunctional situations, but none which overshadowed encopresis. I am a survivor who somehow worked out of the pit. I never thought I could experience independence, a wife, a child or a future. I thank god I can experience life without the nightmare anymore. Somehow I adapted over time little by little. It eventually stopped. I cannot say exactly when. I wish I could says it was sudden. At least it ceased.

    • naturegirl015 02/08/2014 / 8:23 pm

      Hi Ron,

      Thank you for sharing your story (and a fellow Encopresis survivor). If you are interested in communicating more about your experiences with Encopresis, feel free to e-mail me: naturegirl015admin@themagicwithinus.com . Stay strong, and thank you for opening up about your experiences. Good luck with everything.

      Dimity

  3. Harry M VanHoudnos 11/05/2014 / 9:28 pm

    My friend, the more that I read of what you have gone through, and what you have done, the more impressed that I am. And I will do what I can to be of aid and assistance to you. I hope that the day comes when you can be that ambassador for Encopresis.

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